Building on excellence in construction trades training

  • Hon Chris Hipkins
  • Hon Jenny Salesa
Building and Construction Education

A new centre of excellence for vocational education is to be established for the construction sector to drive innovation and strengthen links between education providers and industry, Education Minister Chris Hipkins announced today.

It is the second to be announced, following last week’s centre of excellence for the primary industry, and is part of the Government’s wider reform of vocational education. A third, potentially for health services, is being considered.

“This Government has a comprehensive plan to raise the status of vocational education,” Chris Hipkins said.

“We need many more people on the tools to keep up with demand in the booming construction sector. Our focus on skills is an important part of delivering the Coalition Government’s plan to invest more than $40 billion in capital and infrastructure over the next five years.

“Establishing a centre focused on developing excellence in the trades and the apprenticeship training model is another sign of our commitment to support the construction industry and to get more people into training.”

Cabinet has agreed funding of $18 million over four years to establish up to three prototype centres. Other centres are likely to follow, Mr Hipkins said. 

“I plan to seek proposals before the end of the year to establish where in the vocational educational national network the centre would be located and what functions it will include,’” Chris Hipkins said. 

Building and Construction Minister Jenny Salesa said prototyping in construction will build on the strong partnerships between industry, the Government and educators and help grow a skilled, adaptable workforce.

“The centre will be an important tool to encourage more people into rewarding construction careers, and support our workers to upskill throughout their careers. We want this initiative to drive future-focused, relevant training for all types of construction roles.”

Chris Hipkins said the centre will be formed of a consortium that includes education and industry experts and researchers. It will be hosted by a regional campus of the New Zealand Institute of Skills and Technology, or by a wānanga.

Functions for the centre could include:

  • Sharing high-quality curriculum and programme design
  • Sharing applied research with employers and providers
  • Sharing learning technologies with providers of vocational education to minimise cost and duplication 
  • Providing training support for employers
  • Strengthening pathways into vocational education, including from school
  • Other functions as deemed necessary by the centre.

Jenny Salesa said the Government’s priorities in the housing market highlights the importance of maintaining and growing the quantity and quality of training for the sector.

“The Construction Sector Accord, which launched earlier this year, is focussed on having the right people, at the right time, with the right skills to meet New Zealand’s construction needs.

“It links neatly with the Accord’s Construction Skills Action Plan.”